In Defence Of Buying Expensive Sportswear

It's more likely to make you hit the gym, amiright?


by Zing Tsjeng |
Published on

Let’s face it: exercising is hard. Some days, I can’t motivate myself to reach for the snooze button on my phone alarm, let alone lace up my trainers and go for a jog. But buying exercise gear? That’s all too easy.

In the past year or so, I’ve dropped cash on high-end running shoes, dri-fit leggings, and all manner of technologically advanced workout gear. I used to be the girl who crawled to the gym in a T-shirt that saw its heyday at the under -16s netball club. Once I turned up to a university yoga class in my then-boyfriend’s trackie bottoms, only to realise that the drawstring had vanished. I spent the hour trying not to expose my arsecrack during downward dog. (I did not succeed.)

But I’m not alone in swapping no-name PE gear for sports luxe and Nike Frees – the sportswear market in the UK alone is worth £5.8 billion, and this year it’s expected to outperform the clothing and footwear market combined.

'Workout gear has become a real lifestyle niche,' explains Dalton Wong, a London trainer who’s whipped A-listers like Jennifer Laurence and Amanda Seyfried into shape. 'It’s also fashionable and worn outside the gym. Before, people just wore old kit to the gym – now they’re spoilt for choice.'

Unsurprisingly, retailers smell money in the air: take Net-a-Porter, which has just launched a sportswear-only site called (wait for it) Net-a-Sporter. Average cost of a sports bra? £55. High-end designers are looking to get into the sportswear market too; just check out Stella McCartney’s long-running collaboration with Adidas.

But let’s get real: unless you’re Rebecca Adlington and you’re trying to shave off a millisecond for Olympic glory, it is highly unlikely that you need to drop more than a hundred quid on a hydrodynamic swimsuit. Even if it is designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

In fact, with full apologies to my overdraft, I’ve probably worked up a sweat in less than half of the moisture-wicking / bio-responsive / insert scientific term here sportswear that I’ve bought. The closest thing to a workout some of my trainers have seen is my daily run for the number 8 bus, followed by ten minutes where I wheeze for breath so alarmingly that old ladies offer me their seats.

I buy nice-looking sportswear as a promise to myself: 'I can’t make it the gym this week,' I whisper, maniacally stroking some a pair of very fashionable ergonomic yoga shorts, 'but I definitely will if I buy these.' Crazy, right? But I suspect I’m not the only one.

The appeal of sports luxe is just as psychological as it is physiological. As Dalton puts it: 'They’re made well, hold you in the right places and they look great. Good clothing is important – if you look good, you feel good and you’ll exercise better!'

If you ever get to the gym, that is.

Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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